Does healthy, naturally glowing skin often seem like a myth?
A luxury afforded only to those with plenty of pounds to spare on expensive beauty treatments and costly skin therapies? Well, that need not be the case.
From applying turmeric paste to brighten a bride’s complexion to home-made face masks for better skin, Ayurvedic beauty rituals have been used in South-Asian homes for hundreds of years to restore and rejuvenate skin; easily and affordably.
Want to know more? Read on below to find out how you too can harness the power of Ayurveda for the natural glow you’ve always wanted.
Ayurveda: A holistic approach to enhancing beauty
Ayurveda is a sacred, ancient Indian form of medicine that takes a holistic approach to health and beauty. The principles of Ayurveda combine diet, exercise, and lifestyle changes to maintain vitality and promote longevity.
Based on natural remedies and encompassing physical, physiological, and emotional well-being, the Ayurvedic approach is preventative rather than curative and focuses on restoring the balance between the three doshas that make up the body: Vata, Pitta, and Kapha.
Ayurvedic Beauty Rituals for Better Skin
While Ayurveda is synonymous with health, it is still lesser known in the beauty world. However, with the understanding that healthy skin equates to a more radiant and beautiful you, this too is fast changing.
Ayurveda effectively treats and prevents the symptoms and underlying causes of most illnesses, while at the same time helping you to attain a picture-perfect glow.
With these 6 simple practices:
1. Customising your Skin Care Routine according to your Dosha
A daily skincare routine is a must. However, if it is not formulated according to your Dosha and skin type it can do more harm than good. Each dosha lends itself to a particular skin type, hence the best Ayurvedic rituals for one person may be ineffective or even harmful to another individual with a different dosha and skin type.
Vata Dosha or the Wind Dosha is light, dry, and free-flowing. A Vata-dominant person has dry and rough skin that requires regular moisturisation. They are prone to dry eczema and premature ageing (formation of wrinkles and fine lines), and are therefore advised to choose cosmetics rich in vitamin E and antioxidants, as well as anti-ageing products.
Pitta or Fire Dosha types have sensitive skin that may be acne-prone and reacts strongly to sun exposure. People with this dosha are pre-inclined to have rosacea – a common skin condition that causes redness and bumps on your face, mainly on your nose, cheeks and forehead. Pitta types should use products with soothing and healing properties such as aloe vera, jojoba oil, or coconut oil.
People with Kapha, also known as the Earth Dosha tend to have thick, oily skin with large pores. They are susceptible to whiteheads and blackheads and are encouraged to pick products with purifying properties to regulate excess sebum. Ayurvedic herbs like Turmeric, Neem, and Basil, and regular application of mud masks are especially beneficial for those with this skin type.
2. Ayurvedic Facial Massages
It is a well-known fact that a good massage improves circulation, lymphatic drainage, and skin elasticity.
Ayurvedic Facial Massages or Facial Abhyangas are based around the Marma points located on our face and on our body. Marma points are considered as ‘doors’ to the inner body and when stimulated can act as catalysts for healing and relaxation. On your face, the Marma points are located on:
- The base of the nostrils
- Below and behind the ears
- At the temples
- Slightly higher up than the temples, where the hair meets the scalp
- In the centre of the chin
- In a line just above the eyebrows, from the middle of your face to the sides.
The most basic form of an Ayurvedic Facial Massage is simply applying a suitable Ayurvedic Oil and massaging it into your skin in a circular motion and effectively stimulating all the Marma Points. Sesame Oil is recommended for all doshas, while Almond Oil is best for Vata and Pitta Doshas. For acne-prone skin, Manjistha Oil is used for its anti-inflammatory, anti-bacterial, and anti-androgenic (blocking the effects of androgenic hormones like testosterone) properties.
How do you do a facial massage?
First, wash your face and hands with warm water and then gently apply your chosen Ayurvedic Oil onto your face. Massage in large concentric circles over the entire face, smaller circles on the cheeks, and even smaller rotations around the eyes.
This simple routine, a few times a week is guaranteed to enliven your skin, give you a natural face-lift, and leave you feeling confident and refreshed.
3. Ayurvedic Herbal Remedies and Face Masks
All around the world, Ayurvedic herbs and herbal remedies have become a commonly preferred alternative to chemically-formulated skincare. Not only are they highly effective, but they are a more affordable alternative, with many ingredients found right in your kitchen.
Some common formulations you can try are:
- Turmeric and Rice Flour
Mix 2 teaspoons of turmeric powder, rice flour, and tomato juice each, and apply gently on your face and neck. Let dry for half an hour and rinse with cold water. Repeat 3-4 times a week. This mixture acts as an excellent Ayurvedic scrub to exfoliate skin and lighten dark spots. Turmeric also has antiseptic properties to prevent acne.
- Aloe Vera and Lemon
Considered a super-succulent, aloe vera is a key ingredient in many beauty and skin-care products. A simple mix of 3 tablespoons aloe gel and 1 tablespoon lemon juice can become your overnight moisturiser to hydrate and brighten skin. Additionally, Aloe vera acts as an antioxidant, reduces inflammation, and makes the skin firm.
- Neem and Tulsi
A Godsend for those suffering from regular breakouts, the combination of Holy Basil and Neem treats skin irritations and boosts skin metabolisms, thereby reducing pimples, and reviving the skin. Simply grind 10 Holy Basil leaves and 10 Neem leaves into a paste and add rosewater. Apply to your face for 20 – 40 minutes and rinse. Repeat this 3-4 times a week.
4. Ayurvedic Detox
In Ayurveda, beauty and health are not limited to only the visual or physical aspects, it is a spiritual and emotional journey. Ayurvedic detox is a way to eliminate environmental toxins, harmful substances, built-up stress, and negative emotions that accumulate within the system; and in the long run, affect our health, skin, and even mental well-being.
The tenet of an Ayurvedic Detox or cleanse is to give your body a break to rest and recuperate and get rid of unwanted substances or ‘ama’. Although anytime is a good time for an Ayurvedic detox, practitioners usually do it when the seasons change to cleanse themselves of ama accumulated over the previous season. The longer the detox period the deeper the cleanse.
Panchakarma is an intensive form of an Ayurvedic detox involving five stages and it is recommended that you follow the advice of a professional Ayurvedic expert while undertaking this cleanse. However, a simpler form of an Ayurvedic detox involving only 3 main phases can be performed at home.
The first phase is known as the preparation phase to prime the gut for a powerful cleanse. This phase generally lasts a week and you should focus on eating warm, simple foods and hydrate, hydrate, hydrate! You should avoid meat (including fish), dairy, processed foods, sugar, caffeine, beans, and alcohol. Water and ginger tea are recommended for optimal hydration.
The second phase is the actual Ayurvedic detox and involves a mono-diet of kitchari – a dish of rice, split mung dhal, and ghee, as well as vegetables and plenty of detoxifying fluids. This is because kitchari is considered an optimally balanced dish containing carbs, protein (mung dhal), and healthy oils (ghee). Many find this period rewarding and highly satisfying as the kitchari diet leaves you feeling satiated and content while the body is recovering and regaining vigour.
The final phase mirrors Phase 1 and is the rejuvenation period where you once again focus on clean eating and hydration. During this week you can slowly re-introduce more items into your diet. However, continue avoiding caffeine, alcohol, meat, and sugar, as they may upset the balance within your body.
Despite the immense benefits of following an Ayurvedic Detox, the process is not always a bed of roses. Symptoms like nausea, headache, fatigue, irritability, and moodiness may manifest during the cleanse. It is also crucial to track bowel movements during the cleanse as it is one of the primary indicators of a successful detox. Ideally, a person should experience 2-3 bowel movements per day during a cleanse. With guidance from a certified practitioner, an effective Ayurvedic detox will leave you looking and feeling beautiful inside and out!
5. An Ayurvedic Diet
Quite unsurprisingly, your diet has an unprecedented impact on every aspect of your skin. And while an ayurvedic diet isn’t what comes to mind when considering beauty rituals, it plays a crucial role in ensuring healthy, glowing skin.
As the Ayurvedic diet is also curated according to your dosha, it is essential to first determine your dominant dosha to achieve maximum results.
Those with the Vata Dosha are advised to eat ‘warm,’ ‘moist,’ and easily digested food such as:
- sweet fruits (e.g., berries, bananas, apples, figs, coconut, grapefruit, mangoes, oranges, peaches, pineapple, etc.)
- soft, easily digested vegetables (e.g., asparagus, sweet potato, leafy greens)
- brown rice
- most lean meats and eggs
- dairy (buttermilk, yoghurt, cheese, ghee, whole milk)
- nuts and seeds
- most spices
Kapha Dosha Types should consume spicy and acidic foods like:
- most fruits (e.g., apples, cherries, mangos, peaches, raisins, pears)
- most vegetables (especially cruciferous or “bitter” vegetables)
- basmati rice
- low-fat dairy
- white meat
- all spices
Conversely, Pitta types are advised to have sweet, energising, cold, or bitter foods such as:
- sweet fruits
- non-starchy vegetables
- Basmati or white rice
- some spices (e.g., cardamom, turmeric, cinnamon, cilantro, mint).
While not restrictive, ayurvedic diets prioritise natural foods that are fundamentally nourishing for your body, mind and soul. In addition to giving you healthy skin, Ayurvedic diets are proven to lower cholesterol levels, reduce the risk of cancer, protect against diabetes, promote weight loss, and foster a calming effect on the mind, thereby reducing anxiety.
6. Ayurvedic Lifestyle Practices
Beauty is not just skin deep. Whatever hardships your body endures are reflected in your outward appearance. Thus, employing Ayurvedic lifestyle practices is central to sustainably maintain healthy, glowing skin.
Stress, poor sleep, poor hydration, and inactivity are all detrimental to your health, and therefore your skin. With its holistic approach, Ayurveda recommends stress management, simple physical activity, regular meditation, drinking sufficient water, and good quality sleep to complement and boost the effects of other Ayurvedic beauty rituals you may follow. Additionally, these practices balance hormone levels within the body, calm the mind, and even boost your immunity.
Beautiful, healthy, and glowing skin. Everyone wants it. Few have it. Fortunately, Ayurveda offers the way with simple, easy-to-implement practices and rituals that not only heal and treat the skin but also the mind and body.
And though Ayurvedic beauty rituals may hold the secret to healthy, glowing skin; it is equally important to acknowledge that consistency, as well as picking the right rituals for you, are two other key factors in your journey towards healthier skin.
If you are passionate about learning more about Ayurveda, join us at Ayurvedic Institute today where we offer a range of educational courses and certifications from Ayurvedic Practitioners and Therapists here to offer their perspectives and knowledge for a comprehensive Ayurvedic Education.